Pandemic anniversary: Travel ended a year ago, but it’s back — sort of

One year ago, travel ended.

As COVID-19 consumed the planet, airlines mothballed their planes. Cruise lines docked their ships. Hotels closed their doors, some permanently. And under strict stay-at-home orders, millions of travelers canceled their vacations.

But on the pandemic anniversary, people are wondering: What did the virus do to travel? What will it still do?
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Travel prices are rising — and here’s the reason

Travel prices are rising.

The airfare site Hopper forecasts ticket prices  will jump by up to 5 percent by the end of this March but could soar by as much as 8 percent if vaccines are deployed quickly.

Hotels in many markets are projected to chalk up double-digit rate growth this year, including Seattle (up 13.5 percent), Boston (up 13.4 percent) and Chicago (up 12.6 percent) from 2020, according to hotel consultancy STR.

Weekly car rental rates, which are idling around $90 a week, will rev up to near $120 by the end of the summer, according to RateGain.

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How to get a goodwill gesture from a travel company

The phrase “goodwill gesture” has been thrown around a lot in the travel industry during the pandemic. When airlines refund fares for canceled flights or when cruise lines offer 125 percent credits, they act as if they’re doing travelers a favor — something they don’t have to do but are doing anyway.

But what is a goodwill gesture, and how do you get one?
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How do you know if it’s really safe to travel yet? It’s complicated.

Is it safe to travel yet? People like Stephanie Wolkin want to know.

Safe for her means she can see her 97-year-old mother in New Jersey without infecting her with the deadly COVID-19 virus. Safe means she can find a way to make her annual trip to France this year, to make up for the one canceled last summer.
Read more “How do you know if it’s really safe to travel yet? It’s complicated.”

Possible travel restrictions have travelers asking: What if?

Possible travel restrictions are leaving many Americans asking: “What if?”

What if there’s another surge? What if passengers need a negative coronavirus test to fly domestically? And what if the government tries to limit interstate travel?

The Biden administration last month imposed new testing requirements for air travelers entering the United States. It also required that masks be worn on mass transportation, including airlines, buses and trains.
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